Kampala, Uganda | URN | A section of Members of Parliament of the Democratic Party (DP) have distanced themselves from the signed working cooperation agreement between the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and DP.
On Wednesday 20 July, 2022, President Yoweri Museveni, also the NRM National chairman signed on behalf of his party the cooperation agreement while Norbert Mao, the President General signed on behalf of DP. The signing at State House Entebbe was witnessed by the NRM Secretary General Richard Todwong, and DP Secretary General Gerald Siranda.
Speaking after the signing, Mr. Museveni congratulated Mao upon agreeing to work on steering DP to work with the NRM. He noted that this is something that should have happened at the top administrative level long ago.
On Thursday 21 July, 2022, President Museveni appointed Norbert Mao as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
In a press conference at Parliament on Thursday, four DP MPs including Mityana South MP, Richard Lumu, Bukoto Central MP, Richard Sebamala, Buikwe South MP, Lulume Bayiga, and Kyotera County MP, John Paul Mpalanyi said that they were not party to the agreement with NRM and demanded the immediate resignation of Mao.
Out of the 109 Opposition MPs in the Eleventh Parliament, the Democratic Party (DP) has a total of 9 MPs.
Bayiga said that he was personally happy since the reason why they have not been what they wanted to be is that their party leader had a knee on their neck and that DP couldn’t breathe.
“Our party President is qualified to be a Minister for Justice and he has worked his way into the NRM occupation, we wish him well. Yesterday, the media was awash with all this news… I couldn’t believe it and I took courage to call Mao and we had a long telephone conversation and he confirmed to me that indeed there had been behind the negotiations,” Lulume revealed.
Lulume said that the management committee that endorsed the cooperation agreement is an organ not spelled out in the DP party Constitution.
Lulume said that Mao cannot continue leading the DP since the current developments indicate that he has crossed to NRM. He said that Mao is qualified to become Minister but asked him to leave DP intact by resigning before being forced out.
‘We want to disassociate ourselves from the contents of that agreement because even up to now, we don’t know its contents, genesis, and how it came to be. We don’t want to be a party to it, we were not consulted and don’t know how the two people involved agreed,” said Richard Lumu who doubles as the DP Deputy Legal Advisor.
He said that they are going to pursue a different path of keeping the party and its ideals, also noting that the MPs subscribing to DP were to henceforth stop remitting the 100,000 Shillings monthly contribution to the party until the National Executive Committee (NEC) sits and resolves the issue.
Richard Sebamala, the Bukoto Central MP said that it has been evident for a long time that Museveni and Mao were cooperating and that the current developments are disheartening.
“DP is not Mao and Mao is not in DP. We are not a party to this and we remain in DP as an Opposition party. We are going to ensure that we elect another President and ensure that we draw a thick line between DP and NRM,” said Sebamala.
He described the current developments as a wave that will pass, and also emphasized that they are not party to the agreement and are to continue providing alternatives as Opposition MPs.
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John Paul Mpalanyi, Kyotera County MP said that the current disappointment presents an opportunity for the exit of Mao from the Democratic Party (DP).
Luyimbazi Nalukoola, the National Legal Advisor of DP says that there is nothing like collective responsibility in what Mao did but rather individual responsibility or irresponsibility.
“That transaction which they entered into should benefit him and his allies. At no point, the National Executive Committee (NEC) has ever debated or discussed issues to do with the alliance or cooperation with Gen. Museveni’s government. We have never been consulted whatsoever,” said Nalukoola.
He said that they are now planning to invoke processes and principles that will take the party to another stage.
Nalukoola said that if the office bearers fail to convene meetings to streamline the issue, they are to seek redress in courts of law.